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June 2021

And now it is our turn: Mustafi out for “some time” as we are stuck in Flatland.

by Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw.

Shkodran Mustafi is going to be out of football for “some time” after he was quite unnecessarily played by Germany in a ludicrous 5-1 World Cup victory against the mighty Azerbaijan yesterday.   And this straight after I ran a piece about the insanity of world cup football and the likelihood of injury.

Joachim Löw, later stated that our man had sustained a suspected muscle injury saying “it seems that it is some muscle tear or some muscle fibre tear.   In either case it could force him to a longer break.”

The complete stupidity of playing any experienced players in the game, and indeed the nonsense of this sort of preliminary knock out competition is shown by the league table below.  Germany unbeaten, averaging over four goals a game, conceding four goals in 10 games.   They could have put out a complete set of under 16s for quite a few of these games and still won.

Or consider the position of the opposition for the game of the injury: Azerbaijan.  Three wins, two of which were against San Marino – that mighty country with a population of 33,000.  This is a bit like playing Glossop or Lichfield, or Stroud, or Bicester, or Leatherhead, or Pudsey, or Hucknall or Whitstable.  All mighty centres of football I am sure you will agree.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1  Germany 10 10 0 0 43 4 39 30
2  Northern Ireland 10 6 1 3 17 6 11 19
3  Czech Republic 10 4 3 3 17 10 7 15
4  Norway 10 4 1 5 17 16 1 13
5  Azerbaijan 10 3 1 6 10 19 -9 10
6  San Marino 10 0 0 10 2 51 -49 0

Laurent Koscielny pulled out of the French squad with his regular Achilles injury.  Calum Chambers hasn’t played this season, but could be available if he has recovered from his hip problem.

We do however have Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding, Monreal, and Bellerin – plus the newly converted defender Elneny.  I had to do a quick check after seeing the headline “2018 World Cup: Egypt lose key players to injury.”   But in fact they are not Arsenal men:  Abdallah El Said, and Hossam Ashour and Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim Kahraba are the men concerned.  Bad luck for them and their clubs, but not our problem.

The other injury news from the games over the weekend came with Marouane Fellaini limping off during Belgium’s World Cup qualifier against Bosnia.  I wonder, should not all football fans press for discounts when players of the club they support are missing due to an injury sustained in an international.  That would make the clubs think twice about letting them go.

On a different matter, the official way to write world cup match reports about England has changed as shown by the headline today: “Harry Kane scores penalty in yet another dreary display by Southgate’s strugglers”   Go back ten years and any reporter writing or saying that would have been sacked at once.  So maybe reality is sneaking in through the back door.

And suddenly Charles Darwin – a man not often associated with football – popped up in the Telegraph with “Gordon Strachan blames Scotland’s genetics for World Cup failure”.   Here’s what he said

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“Genetically we are behind.   In the last campaign we were the second smallest, apart from Spain.

“We had to pick a team to combat the height and strength at set-plays. Genetically we have to work at things, maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do.   But it is a problem for us because we have to fight harder for every ball and jump higher than anyone else.

“Nobody can tell me their technique, apart from one player, is better than any of ours. But physically we have a problem. We seem to be able to battle it and get through just with sheer determination and skill and work-rate. And that takes a lot out of you.”

So, inbreeding in Scotland produces little people; an interesting concept.  And there was I thinking it was down to the diet and the whisky.

Elsewhere James Ducker, a journalist, said that “England must learn to embrace the weight of the international shirt like old rivals Germany.”  It was a statement that the newspaper helpfully labelled “Comment”.  It makes one think.  Heavy shirts.  Bit like heavy water I suppose.

And finally there was a venture into science fiction and Flatland, the wonderful 19th century novel by the equally wonderfully named Edwin Abbott Abbott, an absolutely classic that has been filmed many times.  The residents of a two dimension flat world can’t imagine the possibility of a three dimensional world until they are visited by a person from our world.  They both visit a one dimensional world of Pointland.  The characters are both critical of their leaders who cannot understand the other worlds that they have found to exist.  But then when the visitor from our three dimensional land is told about the possibility of a four dimensional kingdom, he refuses to believe it.
And I thought, isn’t that just like football.  No one can conceive of a world without internationals and as a result a world without international injuries.  Yet all it needs is a leap of the imagination.


4 comments to And now it is our turn: Mustafi out for “some time” as we are stuck in Flatland.

  • Jax

    For anybody interested Flatland is available free to download to Kindle via Amazon.
    Nice review Billy.

  • Goonereris

    ” The complete stupidity of playing any experienced players in the game, and indeed the nonsense of this sort of preliminary knock out competition is shown by the league table below….”.

    The thing is Mustafi is actually a fringe (I.e, not first choice) defender for Germany, looking to get in and be on the plane to Russia. So, these are the games he has to show what he can offer the national team. Unfortunately, he is an important figure for his clubside, which now has to bear the brunt.

    International football has come to stay and will remain a part of the footballing calendar, while the nationalistic fervour of the players, when called to “help” their nation, remains. Guess it is infectious too. We just have to get on without the injured.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    By the way, can Fifa, Uefa, Caf, Commebol, Afc, Ofc & Concacaf be made to paying financial compensation to clubs and players whenever a player called up by his country to play in their competitions be it qualifiers or tourney got injured?

    Apart of these Confederations and Fifa awarding some money to countries for participating in their tournaments, I don’t think they financially compensate the clubs for any of their players who got injured in playing in their competitions. But this is unacceptable.

    I think these 6 Fifa Confederations and Fifa itself should be paying the players’ wages to their clubs to compensate them for the battering their players have gotten in their tourneys. The clubs being the primary owners of their players while their national teams are their secondary owners, but the clubs should not be overlooked when it comes to distributing of money by Fifa and it’s Confederations. I think the clubs like Arsenal FC and others should be demanding for insurance covers from Fifa & co for their players to pay their wages to their club sides for the time they remain injured for their clubs and can’t play as a result of playing in Fifa and it’s Confederations competitions so as to protect the clubs from borning the financial wage burdens alone when their players remained inactive and unproductive for their clubs for a long spell.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Just imagine the Fifa who are organising for both male and female the World Cup tourneys and the qualifying games for the tourneys at senior level, under 20 and under 17 levels and the Confederations Cup tournament, have now said they will increase upwards to a certain numbers I’ve forgotten from the present 36 participating countries at one of the Fifa senior World Cup tourney. The same things are obtaining in their Confederations. Not to talk of the national and the regional organising competitions such as the Leagues & Cup games in which players are expected to play in then. But has this over footballing tourneys not turning players to football machines? This is not fair!